Job Futures Québec

2014-2018 Scenario by Occupation

2014-2018 Scenario on the Labour Market in General

Type of work

In order to use and interpret the information for the occupations correctly, you need to clearly understand what the selected occupation involves. This allows you to put the qualitative information into perspective better and to interpret the statistics correctly. For this reason, in this section, Job Futures Quebec provides a brief description of each occupation and a link to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) Web site where a more detailed description can be found.

Examples of Occupational Titles

The occupational title is usually the first step in finding out about a specific occupation. This section displays the main occupational titles used by people in the selected occupation. The National Occupation Classification (NOC) search engine lists over 30,000 occupational titles, classified according to 520 occupational groups.


(Update: October 2014)

The number of jobs has risen fairly sharply between the middle of the 1990s and 2002, increased less rapidly until 2008, decreased in 2009 because of the recession and left up from 2010 to 2013. In light of the trends that affect job growth in Quebec, as presented in this analysis, it is expected that the number of jobs should increase on average by 0.8% per year over the forecast period (2014-2018), a much slower rate than in the last ten years (1.1% annually, on average, even taking into account the 0.8% decline in employment in 2009). This drop in the level of employment growth can be explained primarily by the aging workforce.

Sources of Employment

Opportunities in the labour market come from three different sources:

  • job mobility
  • attrition (retirements and deaths)
  • annual employment variation (employment increase)

Job Mobility

Job mobility (or labour turnover) represents the main source of employment. In fact, every year, at least 20% of workers leave one job for another, sometimes within the same occupation for another position that pays more or that involves more interesting challenges, and sometimes for another occupation as a result of a promotion or to work in an area that is more closely related to their training. These labour force movements create an impressive number of openings. Furthermore, it is estimated that, from year to year, over 80% of openings result from job mobility and approximately 20% due to employment growth and from vacancies due to retirements or deaths. While these percentages vary widely between years where there is strong employment increase and years in which employment is in decline, the openings that result from job mobility are still, by far, the main source of job opportunities.

Attrition (Retirements and Deaths)

The median age of retirement declined significantly during the recession of the early '90s and the years that followed. For example in Quebec it dropped from 64 in 1987 to 58 in 1997. This is to be explained mainly by the weakness of the labour market, improvements in pension plans, and the creation of a large number of retirement incentive programs.

The number of job openings resulting from retirements and deaths should increase sharply during our forecast period (2014-2018). The number of potential retirees will indeed increase as the first cohorts of baby boomers reach retirement age. Consequently, the average annual number of job openings resulting from retirements or deaths in the next five years, which is shown in the Statistics section (approximately 74,000) is more than 65 % higher than at the beginning of the 2000s (less than 45,000). These forecasts reflect the fact that the great demand for workers, inadequate retirement income and high household debt will encourage many people to carry on working. These factors had already begun to have its effects: the median age of retirement started to climb again after 1998, reaching more than 61 in 2013.

Population aging means that there will not only be an increase in the number of people reaching "normal" retirement age, but also a decrease in the number of young people to replace them. Faced with strong demand for workers and a lack of replacements, some employers are already taking measures to keep older employees on strength as long as possible and to help experienced employees pass on their knowledge and expertise to younger workers: mentoring programs, phased retirement, flexible hours, etc. These measures may help ease the impact of the sharp increase in the retirement-age population during our forecast period.

Employment increase

During our forecast period (2014-2018), the number of opportunities generated by annual employment variation (employment increase) should be clearly lower than in recent years. The section "Trends That Influence Employment Growth" (see below) explains this forecast.

The number of job openings resulting from employment increase (an average of 26,500 a year) is expected to be close to three times lower that of openings resulting from erosion (an average of about 74,000 a year). Data on erosion and annual employment variation for each occupation are presented and compared in the "Statistics" section.

Labour Pool

For all occupations, the labour pool (or labour supply) is composed of employed and unemployed persons, that is, the labour force.

In recent years, the labour pool has increased significantly. As growth of the labour pool lagged behind that of employment, the unemployment rate decreased considerably, from over 13.2% in 1993 to 7.6% in 2013, its lowest rate being observed in 2008 (7.2%).

The labour force, or labour pool, varies with the size of the adult population (number of people aged 15 and over) and the participation rate, which in turn vary with demographic, economic and social factors. The factors that have the greatest influence in the labour pool are:

  • demography
  • women's participation to the labour market
  • population's level of schooling
  • economic growth


During our forecast period (2014-2018), the adult population (aged 15 and over) should grow slightly less rapidly as in recent years (less than 0.7% per year compared with about 1.1% between 2003 and 2013), according to historical data and the reference scenario in the population forecasts published in 2014 by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. In addition, almost al this growth will be achieved among people aged 65 and over, who participate very little to the labor market. The number of people in the age groups that are most active in the labour market, ie, between the ages of 25 and 54, will decline slightly (0.3%). The aging of the population should therefore greatly limit the possibilities of labour pool growth.

Net migration (international and interprovincial immigrants minus emigrants) exerts a major influence on demography and the evolution of the labour pool, especially for some occupations. It is particularly important for high-demand occupations, given the criteria used to select immigrants. It is equally so for some relatively non-specialized occupations in the manufacturing and services sector, given the characteristics of other categories of immigrants (family reunification, other sponsored applicants and refugees). Immigration contribution already substantial from 2002 to 2008 with an average net migration of about 30,000 people, has reached record highs since at least 50 years with an average balance of close to 40,000 people from 2009 to 2013. Given that public policies promote high levels of immigration, and given the continuing health of the labour market, immigration should continue to contribute significantly to the growth of the labour pool over the next few years. Note that forecasts of immigration are included in the previous paragraph on demography.

Women's Participation to the Labour Market

One of the most striking phenomena of the last 40 years in terms of the participation rate is undeniably women's increased participation in the labour market. Since 1976, women have accounted for approximately 68% of the increase in the size of the labour force (and 70% of the employment growth). This growth has allowed women's participation rate to approach that of men in all groups between the ages of 15 to 54. Any catching up in the next few years will therefore only involve the 55 years and over age group, where a significant disparity persists between men and women, though it has been declining 25% between 2003 and 2013. Women's increased participation in the labour market should continue to contribute to growth of the labour pool, but to a much lesser extent than in recent years.

Population's Level of Schooling

The participation rate clearly increases with the level of schooling. In 2013, the participation rate of persons between the ages of 25 and 54 with fewer than nine years' education was 55%, while that of persons with at least a bachelor's degree in the same age group reached 91%. The population's level of schooling has increased very sharply over the past few years. The percentage of persons between the ages of 25 and 54 with at least a post-secondary diploma rose from 40% in 1990 to 70% in 2013, while the percentage of the population with a bachelor's degree rose from 13% in 1990 to 28% in 2013. This spectacular growth rate is, however, starting to slow down. The increase in the level of schooling should continue to contribute to the growth of the labour pool over the next few years, but to a much lesser extent than in recent years.

The higher level of schooling also allows us to be optimistic about the population's ability to adjust to an increasingly knowledge-based labour market. Reflecting the connection between the population's improved level of schooling and employers' growing requirements, the situation of vocational, technical and university training program graduates in the labour market has improved considerably in the last 15 years, except for a slight and temporary deterioration in 2009 and 2010 because of the 2009 recession, deterioration also canceled in 2011 and 2012, according to the provincial government Relance survey data. Note that these graduates constitute a very special labour pool, for their training is often associated with one or several specific occupations.

Economic Growth

The participation rate tends to increase in periods of strong economic activity and, conversely, decrease in periods of slow activity, even more so during a recession. Many people become discouraged and stop looking for employment when economic activity is on the wane. Others "take advantage" of hard times to go back to school or to continue their studies for longer than planned. When the economy recovers, these people then tend to start looking for employment again. To illustrate this phenomenon, we can analyse the data available from Statistics Canada since 1997 on the reasons those not in the labour force do not seek work. The percentage of those not in the labour force but wishing to work went from 6.2% in 1997 down to 3.8% in 2013, just higher than its low of 2007 (3.6%), and the proportion of the 'discouraged' workers (those who want to work and are available but who did not look for work because they believed no suitable work was available) dropped from 1.4% to 0.2% between 1997 and 2013. Thus the improvement of the economic situation has resulted in many people entering the labour market who would not have been looking for work a few years ago because they did not believe they could find a job.

To assess the importance of economic activity for the participation rate over a longer period, we may also analyse the changes in the participation rate of people between the ages of 25 and 54. Using the participation rate of this age group allows us to distinguish between the impact of the level of economic activity and the impact of the other factors mentioned above (demography, women's participation and schooling), and to ensure that the analysis is not distorted by these other factors. The group's participation rate fell from 81% at the outset of the recession in the early '90s to around 80% in 1992 and remained between 80% and 81% until 1996, a period of slow economic growth. It then climbed steadily to reach 87% in 2007 and remained there until 2013. Given our growth forecasts, this participation rate should increase over the next few years.

Conclusion on the labour pool

Given all of these factors, the labour pool should continue to grow over the next few years, but to a much lesser extent than in recent years. In fact, the effects of the aging workforce will be felt more and more, because the proportion of retiring workers will rise sharply. Furthermore, as we forecast that growth of the labour pool will lag behind that of employment, the unemployment rate should decrease over the next few years. The labour market is therefore expected to be more attractive to job seekers than today.

The employment growth rate depends on several factors, some of which influence the entire labour market, while others have an impact on specific industries and occupations or on employers' requirements.

A) Growth in Economic Activity

While other factors play an important role, changes in employment are primarily a function of trends affecting growth in overall economic activity, as measured by Gross Domestic Product. From 1997 to 2008, GDP went through a period of strong growth, though the growth was a little less strong after 2000. After the drop in 2009, GDP returned to a good growth in 2010, before experiencing more modest increases from 2011 to 2013.

During our forecast period (2014 to 2018), GDP growth should be positive, but quite low compared to mid-decade levels. The high level of household debt, government plans to rebalance the budget and the small potential increase in the labour pool will combine to limit the extent of economic growth. Only the recent decline in the value of the Canadian dollar suggests an improvement in the side of the international trade balance. To fully understand these changes and explain this forecast, we have to look at the trends affecting the main components of GDP, which are:

  • consumer spending
  • exports and imports
  • government spending
  • investment (private and government)
Consumer Spending

Consumer spending generally changes at the same pace as GDP. While it is clear that growth in consumer spending automatically increases GDP, growth in GDP is usually accompanied by an increase in disposable income, which in turn increases consumer spending. Consumer spending constitutes the largest and most stable component of the GDP. The ratio of consumer spending to GDP has changed little from 2007 to 2013, ranging from 58.5% to 60.2%.

Since 1996, consumer spending has increased rather rapidly, influenced by the general improvement in the economic situation, an increase in personal income stimulated by tax cuts and by employment and wage growth, low real interest rates and a drop in the savings rate. If this growth has weakened significantly in 2009 because of the recession, it went back up to a higher rate in 2010 before growing modestly from 2011 to 2013, probably due to the high level of household debt.

This low consumption increase suggests growth levels equally modest during our forecast period (2014-2018), both because of the high levels of household debt, an aging population and the expected rise in interest rates.

Exports and Imports

During the 1990s, the ratio of international and interprovincial exports to the GDP increased at a much faster pace than the other components of the GDP, growing from 40% in 1991, to 61% in 2000, before dropping gradually to stabilize between 45% and 46% from 2009 to 2013. The ratio of imports also increased rapidly during the 1990s, climbing from 43% in 1991, to 59% in 2000, but dipped less than the ratio of exports afterwards, reaching 52% in 2013.

Result of these movements, the foreign trade balance (exports minus imports) went from a big deficit in 1993 (about 3.7% of GDP) to an almost as big surplus in 2001 (3.2% of GDP). Because of the rise in the value of the Canadian dollar, the foreign trade balance returned to a deficit in 2003 that continued to widen in the years that followed, reaching approximately 6.6% of the GDP in 2012, its peak level for the last 30 years at least, a rate that remained the same in 2013.

These movements come mainly from changes in international trade. The share of the value of interprovincial exports and imports in the GDP has fluctuated only slightly in recent years. Since 1991, it has been consistently between 18% and 21%. The interprovincial trade balance has been only slightly negative between 2000 and 2008, and has become positive since 2009, reaching 1.2% of GDP in 2013.

These significant variations in international trade have been partly influenced by international trade agreements and the value of the Canadian dollar. The major international trade agreements are the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Canada, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada, and agreements negotiated under the World Trade Organization (WTO) involving most countries around the world. The drop in the value of international exports from 2000 to 2012 and the strong increase in the value of international imports during the same period are also due to the decline in the economic growth rate in the United States, the rising value of the Canadian dollar and the ever-increasing competition from low-wage countries, especially China.

The effects of what is commonly known as market globalization vary considerably between industries and occupations, and even between companies within a given industry. They have a positive impact on firms that sell their goods and services more readily abroad, a negative impact on those firms affected by foreign companies that sell their goods and services more readily in the Quebec market, and a fairly neutral impact on those relatively unaffected by international trade (construction, education, health, retail trade, personal services, etc).

While international trade agreements have undoubtedly facilitated international trade and have largely contributed to its growth, it was the value of the Canadian dollar that most influenced the evolution of the international trade balance. There was a pronounced deficit in the early 1990s, when the fight against inflation took interest rates to much higher levels than those in the US, contributing to a sharp increase in the value of the dollar. Following the drop in interest rates and in the dollar, exports and imports were basically in balance in the mid 1990s. There was a trade surplus as of 1999, and an unprecedented surplus from 2000 to 2002, when the value of the dollar fell to a historic low. Then, as the Canadian dollar rose sharply in 2003, the surplus returned to a rising deficit and to its highest level in 2012. The importance of the value of the Canadian dollar is underlined by the fact that the trade balance was always negative in the last 20 years when the Canadian dollar was worth more than $US0.80 and always positive when it was worth less , except in 1997, and by very little.

The international trade balance is expected to improve somewhat in the coming years. First, the increasingly strong recovery in the United States, which accounted in 2013 for about 72% of our international exports of goods according to the Strategis website, increase export opportunities to this country. Then, the recent decline in the value of the Canadian dollar, if sustained, make both Quebec exports more competitive and imports from other countries less attractive. That said, the value of international imports is not expected to decrease significantly, since a large share of imports actually consists of raw materials or components integrated into our exported production. Consider for example the aircraft parts that are manufactured abroad and subsequently incorporated herein aircraft that we export. It is the same in many industries.

Government Spending

The ratio of government spending to GDP dropped from 26.7% to 21.1% between 1992 and 1999, then increased gradually to 24.6% in 2009, year of recession, and remain fairly stable thereafter. At the start of the 1990s, governments were faced with high deficits and enormous accumulated debts. To address the situation, they slashed budgets beginning in 1992. By 2000, governments had found some budget leeway and started to increase their spending again in a few specific sectors, such as health care and education. The strong increase in 2009 is explained by a reduced GDP in 2009 and the increase in public transfers due to the recession and its consequences (Employment Insurance, social assistance, etc.). The effects of an aging population on the rise in transfers to the elderly and health needs have subsequently canceled the decline in transfers in other areas.

The ratio of government spending to GDP should drop somewhat in coming years because of the restraints that governments adopted to rebalance their budgets. This spending will therefore not contribute to an increased GDP in the coming years.


The ratio of investment to GDP dropped from 22.1% in 1989 to 18.0% in 1995 and then rebounded, reaching 23.0% in 2012, then dropped to 21.8% in a single year. These changes are largely due to fluctuations in the level of economic activity and government investment.

When the economy is stagnant, companies naturally hesitate to expand their production capacity, given the very sluggish demand. Conversely, when growth in economic activity is strong, they are encouraged to invest to meet the expanding demand.

Hence investments declined significantly in the early '90s, when growth in economic activity was slow. Thereafter, investments increased sharply. Depending on the year, that growth took the form of various types of investments (residential construction, non-residential construction, and machinery and equipment). In the end, all these investment types saw a high level of growth until 2012 (if it is a temporary drop in 2009, a recession year), both in the business sector and in the public sector, enabling the investments to achieve a share of the GDP which is the highest in over 20 years. Then, business investment has suddenly plunged in 2013, as well in residential construction and in non-residential construction and machinery and equipment.

Over the next few years, the outlook is mixed on the investment side. Despite infrastructure needs, government investments will suffer the effects of government cutbacks. Business investment should increase only slightly, following the gloomy trends of the overall economy.

B) Other Factors

Other factors also influence the evolution of employment. The outlooks for the occupations provide a more in-depth analysis of their specific impact on the various occupations. The most important are:

  • the aging of the population
  • technological changes
  • the knowledge and information economy
  • work organization methods
Aging of the Population

As mentioned earlier in the Labour pool section, the aging of the population has already begun to limit the possibilities for employment growth in Quebec, and will further limit it in the future. For many years now, aging has been having an effect on the number of positions in certain occupations and industries and is not only reflected by the increasing number of elderly people, but also by a significant change in the age structure of the population. For example, even taking into account the recent increase (more than 22% from 2002 to 2013), the number of births still remains far below that of the early 90s (88,600 in 2013, compared with about 98,000 in 1990) and its historic high in 1959 of 144,500.

Consequently, changes in age structure of the population rate has had and will have a direct impact on employment in daycare centres and schools, and an indirect impact on other occupations by influencing the rate of crime, automobile accidents, alcohol consumption, etc. Other examples include:

  • health sector: population aging is one of the main causes of increased demand for medication, which in turn leads to a significant increase in the demand for pharmacists however, the impact of aging on the health professions is relatively weak at the moment compared with what we can expect to see in 10 to 15 years.

  • consumption: seniors do not consume the same goods, and generally place greater emphasis on customer service than do younger persons this factor results in increased demand for sales clerks and staff in occupations related to customer service, and in some cases increased employer requirements of candidates for these occupations.

  • housing: once the children have left home, people look for smaller housing closer to services while this factor has already resulted in a sharp jump in the construction of housing units and related services adapted for seniors (caretaking, housekeeping, etc.), the greatest effects will be felt in 10 to 15 years.

  • travel: group travel and charter transport are gaining popularity
  • food services industry: the fast food industry is affected by the decline in the birth rate, while full-service restaurants are benefiting from the aging of baby boomers
  • finance: financial services are adjusting their services to a population which, as it ages, is more concerned with its investments and preparing for retirement
Technological Changes

In the '70s, the impact of technological changes was chiefly felt in the primary (agriculture, forestry, mining, etc) and secondary (manufacturing) sectors. In the '80s and '90s, technological changes significantly altered office work. There was considerable task diversification for office staff and a significant increase in employer requirements, leading to decompartmentalization of duties formerly carried out by specific occupations. The same person may now work as receptionist, secretary and bookkeeper, perhaps even as graphics designer or page designer for an Internet site.

During this same era, developments in information technology generated spectacular growth in computer industry occupations. More recently, the growing popularity of the Internet and multimedia products has not only led to employment growth in certain occupations (programmers, graphic designers, etc.) but it has also created new occupations such as webmaster and video game tester.

Nowadays, the growing use of the Internet is in particular influencing work methods and requirements in the occupations concerned. It has usually little impact on the evolution of the volume of employment in the occupations, if not among insurance brokers, travel counsellors, journalists and real estate agents. Moreover, e-commerce involves the removal of a number of administrative jobs, as business-to-business e-commerce considerably reduces processing time for administrative documents. Its effect on employment in sales began to emerge in recent years, a trend expected to increase in the future.

It is of course impossible to predict precisely the technological changes of the next few years, but they should continue to foster task diversification and increased employer requirements.

The Knowledge and Information Economy

The growing importance of the knowledge- and information-based economy is generally associated with a significant decrease in employment in occupations that require little education and very strong employment growth in occupations that require a university degree or are related to natural and applied science. The latter occupations have in fact grown at a much faster pace than other occupations in recent years. However, the number of jobs in those occupations is still relatively small compared to the labour market as a whole. The number of jobs in occupations related to natural and applied science more than doubled from 1990 to 2013 (a 109% increase compared with an increase of 24% for other occupations) but still represented barely 8.0% of all jobs in 2012. And while the number of jobs in occupations requiring a university degree increased 78% from 1990 to 2013 compared with 20% for other occupations, it was still about 20% of the total number of jobs in 2013. Clearly, while the impact of this trend is perfectly real, it is also very gradual.

Although employment in occupations that require little education (or unskilled occupations) stalled during the 1990s, it increased by close to 20% between 2001 and 2012, at slightly more than that of other occupations. The stagnation of the 1990s and growth of the knowledge economy have led some labour-market observers to announce the gradual disappearance of employment in these occupations. However, since most of these jobs are in sales and service (approximately 81% in 2013), these occupations are almost invulnerable to competition from low-wage countries. Furthermore, the duties performed by most workers in these occupations are not likely to be affected by technological changes. Since 2001, it has generally been occupations that require intermediate skills (or semi-skilled occupations) that have been hardest hit, in manufacturing, by competition from low-wage countries and in forestry, by job losses.

This does not mean that all is well in occupations requiring little education, as the quality of jobs is much lower. It will come as no surprise to learn that, according to the Labour Force Survey data, the weekly salary of employees (excluding self-employed persons) in an occupation requiring a university degree being in 2013 on average 2.6 times higher than that of employees in an occupation requiring little education, and that this variance is increasing (2.2 times in 1997), although the recent minimum wage increases appear to have put an end to this trend (2,7 times in 2008). Moreover, in 2010, workers in unskilled occupations were more likely to be working part time (40%, compared with 16%), less likely to be working full-year (48%, compared with 63%) and had an unemployment rate in 2011 that was close to four times higher (9.2%, compared with 2.6%), according to the National Household Survey data. If this already grim picture were not enough, it should be noted that unskilled jobs are also far more vulnerable to economic slowdowns, with those working at them often being the first to be laid off.

The knowledge- and information-based economy affects not only the number of jobs in each occupation, but also employers' requirements and the nature of duties in most occupations. We expect these trends to continue in the next few years.

Work Organization Methods

Although a scientific approach to work organization (specialization of tasks) is still very widespread, we witnessed the introduction and growing popularity of many different and innovative organizational methods since 1990. Think of total quality management, ISO standards and Qualimètre, continuous improvement programs, "just in time" management, the formation of semi-autonomous teams, etc. On the whole, these organizational methods had a slightly negative impact on employment in middle management. They led to an increase in employer requirements and training needs, and resulted in changes in job content. This trend should at least continue over the next few years given the emphasis on productivity to compensate for the low availability of labor.

C) A Word of Caution about Major Events

The trends we have just analysed give us a fair idea about the evolution of employment in the occupations. However, certain unforeseeable events can profoundly alter the occupational outlooks. These include government decisions (ambulatory care, budget cuts, Places at the reduced contribution program, new regulations, etc), major investments, international disputes and natural disasters. It is important to be able to distinguish between events with one-off, albeit far-reaching, effects (natural disasters) and events with a lasting impact, such as ambulatory care. In other instances, a major event may have both lasting and one-off effects. For example, while the impact of the events of September 11, 2001 on employment in security services lasted, their negative impact on air travel were temporary.

Although major events with lasting effects are infrequent, it is important to follow current events closely to be able to interpret our projections correctly.

Employment by Industry

The trends described above favour some industries and not others. The most significant changes since 1990 in the industrial breakdown of the labour force are:

  • The decline in employment in private homes (especially since the advent of $7 daycare), agriculture, mining, forestry, air, rail and maritime transportation, and certain manufacturing sectors (the clothing, textile, paper, beverage, primary metal, printing and computer and electronic product industries in particular).

  • Little or no growth in utilities, public administration and furniture product manufacturing (up in the 1990s and equivalent decline since) and
  • A strong increase in professional, scientific and technical services, business support services, the information, culture and recreation industry, and health care and social assistance

It should be noted, however, that some of the employment growth in professional and business services is attributable to out-sourcing, which means a shift in employees from all industries to such services.

Job Futures Quebec occupational outlooks generally provide a more in-depth analysis of employment trends in the various industries in which the members of these occupational groups work.

Other Trends

Part-time Work:

Since 1990, changes in the proportion of part-time workers have generally been inversely proportional to employment growth. The proportion increased rapidly during the recession of the early '90s, fell during the strong recovery between 1997 and 2000, started to increase again between 2000 and 2003, a period of low growth, has steadily remained at a high rate between 2003 and 2008, increased sharply between 2008 and 2010, a period influenced by the 2008-2009 recession and decreased somewhat between 2011 and 2013. That said, it is in fact not very informative to analyse changes in part-time work in terms of the overall rates. To clearly understand the dynamic at work, one needs to look at the various categories of part-timer.

According to Gender

In 2013, the proportion of employed women working part time was two times that of men (26% compared with 13%). For women the proportion varied little between 1990 and 2013 (still between 25% and 27%), whereas for men it rose from 8% to 11% between 1990 and 1993 and then remained fairly stable until 2002 (always between 10% or 11%), and then starting again up to reach 13% in 2010 and remain there until 2013. The increase for men during the recession of the early '90s is explained by the fact that their job losses were concentrated in manufacturing and construction, sectors where there is little part-time work (less than 5%). The most recent rise is more complex because it is the result of a combination of factors. Once again, the strong growth in the services-producing sector compared to the goods-producing sector explains part of it, but there is also the higher proportion of jobs held by young people aged 15 to 24 and particularly people aged 55 and over, two age groups where part-time work is more common than in people aged 25 to 54.

According to Age

The part-time share of employment varies considerably by age. In 2013, it was:

  • 77% among those aged 15 to 19
  • 39% among those aged 20 to 24
  • 11% among those aged 25 to 54
  • 22% among those aged 55 and over

The most significant increase in the proportion of part-time employment between 1990 and 2013 was among young people. It increased 17 percentage points among young people aged 15 to 19 and 19 points among those aged 20 to 24. This significant increase can be explained primarily by the equally impressive increase in the rate of young people attending school full-time. The proportion of young people that attend school full-time rose from 48% in 1990 to 60% in 2013. This change almost perfectly matched the change in part-time work. The proportion of full-time students working part-time remained fairly steady between 1990 and 2013 (always between 94% and 96%). The proportion of non-students working part-time increased from 12% in 1990 to 20% in 2013. In short, close to 90% of the increase in part-time work among young people 15-24 between 1990 and 2013 was attributable to those attending school full-time (77%) or part-time (11%).


The relative importance of self-employment grew through most of the 1990s, increasing from 13.2% in 1990 to 15.4% in 1999. In 2002, it then declined to the level it was at before the recession of the early '90s (13.2%), and remained near that level until 2013 (13.3%).Thus, contrary to what is often heard and read, there has been no clear growth trend in self-employment in the labour market in the last 23 years.

Changes in self-employment are attributable to a number of factors with opposing effects:

  • changes in employment in occupations and industries where there has historically been more self-employment: agriculture, personal care services, art and culture, business services, construction, professions, management, etc
  • the trend toward out-sourcing and subcontracting
  • organization of work
  • the increased availability of telecommunications
  • population aging
  • the salaried work regulation sometimes challenging for employers
  • economic conditions

In fact, the self-employment rate increases with age, as can be seen with the 2013 data:

  • 15-24 years: 2.6%
  • 25-44 years: 12.0%
  • 45-64 years: 16.6%
  • 65 years and over: 42.0%

Given the opposing effects of so many factors, it is hard to forecast changes in self-employment. However, it appears that the relative importance of self-employment has levelled off somewhat.

Changes in Employers

Contrary to a widespread myth, the number of employers people work for during their working life in the labour market decreased in the 1990s. In short, people change employers less frequently than 10 or even 25 years ago. According to a Statistics Canada study (Job Tenure, Worker Mobility and the Youth Labour Market during the 1990s, March 2001), the average number of employers during an employee's working life (excluding jobs held by full-time students) rose in Canada from 8.4 in 1976 to a high of 9.5 in 1988, falling to just over 7 in 1999. However this average is misleading, since the average number of employers varies widely depending on industry and occupation. For example, people change employers much less frequently in agriculture and in the health and education sectors than in trade, accommodation and the food services industry. Over half of these changes in employers (4/7) take place before age 30. A more recent study by Statistics Canada, An overview of the working lives of the older baby boomers, based on different data, reached the same conclusion (people have not changed jobs more than before in the first decade of the 2000s).

The trend to change employers less frequently may seem surprising at first. However, it is fairly easily explained. The more schooling a person has, the less often he or she will change employers. However, the average educational level of the population has increased sharply over the past thirty years.

Education and Training

Academic training is increasingly important for anyone seeking to enter the labour market. People with more education far outnumber people with less education in the labour market. In 2013, the participation rate among people between the ages of 25 and 54 with less than nine years of schooling was 55%, compared with 91% among people the same age who had at least a bachelor's degree.

Inversely, unemployment was much lower among people with more education than among people with less education. In 2013, the unemployment rate among people between the ages of 25 and 54 with less than nine years of schooling was 19%, compared with 4.5% among people the same age who had at least a bachelor's degree.

The gap is widening in terms of participation and unemployment rates. The biggest difference is between people who have at least a high-school diploma and those who do not. This clearly shows the importance of staying in school until at least the end of high school and ideally beyond.

Useful References

Job Futures-Quebec
Service Canada, Quebec Region
Labour Market Analysis Branch
200 René-Lévesque Boulevard West, West Tower, 5th Floor
Montreal, Quebec
H2Z 1X4
E-mail: Job Futures Quebec

Important Considerations

Considering all the trends that influence employment in Quebec, it is expected that the number of jobs should increase on average by 0.8% per year over the forecast period (2014-2018), a much slower rate than in the last ten years (1.1% annually, on average, even taking into account the 0.8% decline in employment in 2009).

Given that we forecast that employment growth will be stronger than the increase in the labour pool, the unemployment rate should decline and the job market is expected to be somewhat more attractive for job seekers than today.

Statistics - All occupations

Main Labour Market Indicators

In the following table, indicators such as the growth rate, yearly variation in employment, yearly attrition and total annual requirements are forecasts generated by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source for employment is Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The volumes of unemployment insurance beneficiaries come from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s administrative data. All of the data are rounded.

  All occupations
Employment, average 2011-2013 3,990,050
Employment Insurance claimants in 2013 80,700
Average Annual Growth Rate 2014-2018 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2014-2018 26,500
Annual Attrition 2014-2018 74,300
Total Annual Needs 2014-2018 100,800

Employment Distribution

The data from the following employment distribution tables come from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

  All occupations
Employment by Gender
Males 51.9%
Females 48.1%
Employment by Age
15 - 24 years 13.3%
25 - 44 years 42.7%
45 - 64 years 41.1%
65 years and over 2.8%
Employment by Status
Full-time 81.2%
Part-time 18.8%
Employment by Annual Income
Full-time, full-year 54.8%
Annual Average Income $50,300
$0 - $19,999 13.3%
$20,000 - $49,999 48.0%
$50,000 and over 38.8%
Employment by Highest Level of Schooling
Less than high-school 12.1%
High-school 20.3%
Post-secondary 44.2%
Bachelors 23.4%
Others Employment Distribution
Self-employment 10.7%
Immigration 13.7%
Employment by Region
RegionAll occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 1.8%
Bas-Saint-Laurent 2.3%
Capitale-Nationale 9.4%
Centre-du-Québec 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 5.5%
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec 1.6%
Estrie 3.8%
Gaspésie–îles-de-la-Madeleine 0.9%
Lanaudière 6.1%
Laurentides 7.3%
Laval 5.2%
Mauricie 3.0%
Montérégie 19.2%
Montréal 22.9%
Outaouais 4.9%
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean 3.3%

Main Sectors of Employment

The data of the following table were prepared by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source is Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

SectorAll occupations
Primary 2.4%
Secondary 17.1%
- Manufacturing 11.5%
- Construction 5.6%
Tertiary 80.4%
- Business-Related Services 25.8%
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 7.0%
- Finance, Insurance and Real Estate 5.5%
- Transportation and Warehousing 4.5%
- Wholesale Trade 4.2%
- Management of Enterprises and Administrative and Support Services 3.8%
- Utilities 0.8%
- Consumer-Related Services 27.2%
- Retail Trade 12.3%
- Accommodation and Food Services 6.0%
- Other Service Industries 4.6%
- Information, Culture and Recreation 4.2%
- Public and Government Services 27.4%
- Health and Social Services 12.5%
- Educational Services 7.5%
- Public Administrations 7.4%

2014-2018 Scenario by Occupation